After being on the brink of losing his spot in the rotation, Phil Hughes has begun to come around. The right-hander pitched 7.2 strong innings of one-run ball as the New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners for their third straight win and fifth in their last six games.
Hughes continued the Yankees rotation resurgence and on the heels of Andy Pettitte‘s return to the game this afternoon, is showing that the first month woes for the starters could be coming to an end.
This game had another sub-plot and that was the opposing starter, Hector Noesi. Noesi was involved in the trade that sent Jesus Montero to the Mariners in exchange for now injured Michael Pineda. Noesi didn’t fare as well. He gave the Mariners length going seven innings, but he had one bad inning, a four-run second which was insurmountable for the Mariners.
The inning featured doubles by Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin. Martin’s putting the Yankees up 2-0. Jayson Nix, the Yankees new utility infielder since the demotion to Eduardo Nunez, blasted a home run to give the Yanks a 4-0 edge. For Nix, who was playing shortstop in order to give Derek Jeter some rest, it was his first hit of the season.
With the comfortable lead, Hughes took control of the game. He gave up only six hits and one walk, while striking out four. The lone blemish in his 112-pitch performance was a home run to Mike Carp. By far this was his best outing of the season and helped solidify his spot in the rotation.
Ibanez homered in the fourth, his second in two straight days and Robinson Cano added a run-scoring single in the eighth to round out the Yankees’ scoring. Carp added a RBI double for the Mariners final run in the ninth off Boone Logan, who earned his first save of the season.
- Jeter had two more hits adding to his MLB leading total (53) and also moved him into a tie with Tony Gwynn for 17th place on the all-time hit list with 3,141. Robin Yount is next on the list with 3,142.
- Yankees starting pitching is 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA in five games since returning home.
- David Phelps will return to the Yankees bullpen upon the return of Pettitte today.
- The Yankees claimed lefty reliever Justin Thomas off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
- Yogi Berra celebrated his 87th birthday yesterday during a pre-game ceremony.
Pettitte makes his return to the Yankees and baseball this afternoon. He does not have much experience against many in players on the Mariners roster. The Mariners send Kevin Millwood to toe the rubber in the final game of the series. Millwood on the other hand has plenty of bad experiences against the Yankees lineup, making it difficult to select a nemesis below.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, today’s start for Andy Pettitte means a lot more than nostalgia. Until this week, the rotation as a whole has been underwhelming. Only CC Sabathia has shown consistency in his starts.
Pettitte’s return to the mound after choosing to miss all of the 2011 season has become a necessity for the Yankees. The loss of Pineda and the ineffectiveness of Freddy Garcia has left an opening and the Yankees hope that Pettitte fills it quick.
This is no ticket ploy. The Yankees don’t believe in that because they don’t need to. When they signed Pettitte to a one-year deal about six weeks ago, they had this in mind. At the time there were seven starters for the five spots, but as is the case with every team in MLB, these things work themselves out. Mind you, Pettitte was not being brought back to work in relief. The intention was always for him to supplant one of the original starters. The rotation’s condition and early season woes made it easy to slot Pettitte. We can celebrate his return instead of discussing any controversy that he pushed someone out of their spot in the rotation.
Pettitte made four minor league starts in order to ramp up his pitch count and become re-acclimated to competing every five days. He wasn’t particularly dominant in any of those starts, but his only concern was getting back into game shape and helping his body remember the mechanics he mastered in his 16-year career. He deemed himself ready and he’ll show us what he’s got this afternoon.
Yes, of course this has the makings of a feel good story. A 39 year-old Yankee icon returns to the mound after coming out of retirement. The underlying story is more important, the Yankees need him to be the Andy Pettitte who created the icon image in order to have a shot of making the postseason. This is no stunt, it’s a necessity.
Tags: Andy Pettitte Boone Logan CC Sabathia Curtis Granderson David Phelps Derek Jeter Eduardo Nunez Freddy Garcia Hector Noesi Jayson Nix Jesus Montero Joe Girardi Mark Teixeira Michel Pineda Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Raul Ibanez Recap Robin Yount Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tony Gywnn